Despite expectations of receiving federal funding for the Route 88 (Main Street) corridor project this year, the village learned it has been put on hold again.

Despite expectations of receiving federal funding for the Route 88 (Main Street) corridor project this year, the village learned it has been put on hold again.

Worse, under the current scoring system for allotting road-repair funds, it’s possible the village will never get federal funding for the road, which is in serious disrepair, particularly the northern section from Union Street to the village line.

It’s been nearly seven years since the village first sought federal funding for the reconstruction of the Route 88 corridor, which runs through the village from Pearl Street by Joey’s Northside Grocery on the north end to Rose Drive, across from Rose Garden Apartments, on the south. The funding would cover some 85 percent of the project’s cost, with an additional 10 percent coming from the state, leaving only 5 percent for the local share. The reconstruction involves a total road replacement, Mayor Peter Blandino said, during which the village will replace the 100-year-old water and sewer lines running underneath the road.

Originally slated to happen in 2012, the project was delayed to 2014 for bid, with construction expected to begin in 2015. But the reconstruction was delayed this time because it failed to meet new scoring requirements put in place last fall. Bob Hutteman of Lu Engineers, which provides engineering services for the village, said the “big push” to receive funding is based on vehicle miles. Roads more heavily traveled, such as Interstate 490, are more likely to receive funds than a lesser traveled street like Route 88.

“It was decided that the majority of the money should go to preventative maintenance instead of reconstruction,” Hutteman said.

Federal funding in the Rochester region is distributed through the Genesee Transportation Council, made up of local officials. The council compiles a list of projects from throughout the region to present for federal funding. Every two years the list is updated and projects are selected based on specific criteria to receive funding. The $6.5 million Route 88 project had met the specs, and local officials were assured they’d receive the funding.

Hutteman said they were notified in October that the rules had changed and the project would have to be scored again. He advised the village that it would be best to do the project in two phases, and the scope of the project was revised. Phase I would be the complete reconstruction of Route 88 from Pearl Street and to Route 31 (East Union Street).

The amount of funding to the region has been decreased, Hutteman said, so more projects are competing for less money. Of the $122 million in projects approved for federal funding, all but two are in Monroe County.

“It’s not fair. It’s like they don’t care about outlying areas,” Trustee Kurt Werts said. “It’s wrong. We were told it was on the list until the politicians got a hold of it ... then they pull the rug out from under us.”

Blandino said the village had several projects on the list, all of which were denied funding. But Newark was not alone.

“This was not unique to our area,” Blandino said. “We gave them our best pitch to get the funding. It didn’t work out.”

Hutteman said it will likely be two years before they have a chance at federal funding again, although they will request it next year. Even so, it generally takes time to get the funding and begin work. Village officials don’t expect construction could even start until possibly 2019 if they do receive the funding — but they don’t have high hopes for that.

“Based on the rules today, it’s a fair statement that we will never get funding,” Hutteman said. “But you never know how or when the rules will change again.”